GRANVILLE, Ohio- No. 12 Ohio Wesleyan jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first quarter and rode that five-goal advantage to a 13-8 victory over No. 6 Denison at Piper Stadium. The win moves the Battling Bishops into first place in the North Coast Athletic Conference at 12-2 overall and 6-0 in league play. The loss drops Denison to 11-3 and 5-1 in conference play.
In what was the 100th meeting on the lacrosse field between the two rivals, Ohio Wesleyan stole momentum early when Will Anton scored the first goal of the game on a pass from Steve Hildebrand while the Big Red were down two men after penalties on Brooks Davy and Sam Dyson.
Less than a minute later, Hildebrand put OWU on top, 2-0 on a feed from Jack Jeschke. Denison put its first goal on the board with 10 minutes left in the first after Wills Hutras connected with Spencer Butler for his 27th goal of the season.
The remainder of the quarter was controlled by OWU as they rattled off five straight goals to take a 7-1 lead into the second quarter.
In the second, Denison bounced back, outscoring the Battling Bishops 4-2 behind three goals from Butler and an unsettled goal by long stick midfielder Sam Dyson after an OWU turnover. Trailing 8-5 at the half, things were looking up for Denison. They were winning faceoffs and outshooting the Battling Bishops, but OWU was capitalizing on Denison's miscues and shooting a high percentage.
With 10:50 left in the third quarter Denison cut the deficit to three on a goal by Josiah Wilson after a penalty on OWU goalie Ben Rigger sent him into the box for one minute. Wilson scored on the OWU backup to make it 9-6.
With 7:34 to play in the third Denison had an excellent chance to trim the lead to two but Owen Armstrong's shot was saved by Bishop backup netminder Joey Sichenzia. That sparked a clear for the Bishops and seconds later, Cole Jamieson connected with Max Tennant for his 53rd goal of the season pushing the lead back to four. Denison's prettiest goal of the day came right before the end of the third quarter when Owen Armstrong completed a pass to Brooks Davy from behind the cage. Davy caught it at the doorstep and one-timed it for the score.
Ohio Wesleyan led 11-7 entering the fourth quarter and Luke Leyden gave his team some breathing room with an unassisted goal at the nine-minute mark.
Denison retaliated with a goal from Armstrong with 6:23 remaining to make it a 12-8 game. DU won the ensuing faceoff but Pittroff's shot was saved by Rigger who re-entered shortly after his penalty ran out in the third. A 30-second penalty on Leyden gave Denison its fifth man-up opportunity of the day but Davy's shot was turned away by Rigger, effectively ending the Big Red's hopes of a comeback.
Hildebrand and Leyden both posted hat-tricks and Tennant scored twice. Denison was led by Butler with four goals while Davy, Wilson, and Dyson scored once. The Big Red won 17-of-25 faceoffs and outshot Ohio Wesleyan 41-27 but the Bishops were efficient, scoring 13 goals on those 27 shots. Henry DeCamp took all 25 draws for DU and finished with 17 wins and 10 ground balls. Peter Doering had four ground balls while Hannibal George led the team with two caused turnovers.
In the all-time series against Ohio Wesleyan Denison still hosts a 53-46-1 advantage. The Big Red will return to action on Wednesday when they host Kenyon College at 7:30 p.m.